Man Utd players want Erik ten Hag to hire Robin van Persie as assistant coach


Manchester United’s players are keen on Erik ten Hag revamping the club’s coaching team and securing the return of Robin van Persie.

The ailing Premier League giants made a significant breakthrough in talks with the current Ajax manager earlier this week and are expected to confirm his appointment imminently.

Ten Hag has verbally agreed in principle to sign a four-year contract, but United will wait until after the Dutch Cup final this weekend to make an official announcement.

Negotiations with the 52-year-old have been far from straightforward, with Ten Hag requesting control over United’s transfer dealings and the composition of his backroom team.

United have now ceded to those demands and Ten Hag has already set about the task of selecting his support staff, before he begins work on a rebuilding job in the summer.

In addition to bringing Ajax assistant Mitchell van der Gaag with him to Old Trafford, Ten Hag is also keen to have a coach with both experience of the Premier League and ties to United on his staff.

Van Persie, whose goals fired United to their last Premier League title back in 2013, would fit that criteria and the 38-year-old is already said to have held talks with Ten Hag.

The former Arsenal captain is currently earning his coaching badges while working with Feyenoord’s academy, where his son Shaqueel van Persie is currently continuing his own development.

According to The Times, United’s current first team squad would be keen to see van Persie return, but he is reportedly settled in Holland with his family, while gaining a work permit could prove complicated while he is without the requisite qualifications.

Another of Ten Hag’s compatriots, Jaap Stam, has been linked with the role, while Steve McClaren – who coached at the club under Sir Alex Ferguson – has also emerged as a shock contender to be part of the new-look backroom team.

McClaren was actually head coach of FC Twente when Ten Hag was one of his coaches – and that may not be where the reunion ends.

Ten Hag wants to bring another member of that old Twente coaching setup to Manchester in the form of current Ajax head of performance Alessandro Schoenmaker.

Ten Hag has pinpointed the physical conditioning and fitness of United’s players as something that needs to be addressed, particularly given that he wants to play high-tempo, high-pressing football.

Schoenmaker – who was at Twente while Ten Hag was also there – has become a trusted part of the Dutchman’s set-up at Ajax and is highly rated at injury prevention and sports science.

He also knows the demands and rigours of English football well, having worked at Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Derby County – he was appointed to the latter role while McClaren was in charge of the club.